Victorian Pandemic orders have been extended until 11.59pm on Tuesday, 12 October 2022. It’s important that we keep ourselves, our loved ones and community safe from COVID-19. The Victorian government is particularly concerned about the highly infectious BA4 and BA5 variants. In the information below we’ve outlined how to get tested, what to do if your are COVID-19 positive, how to get vaccinated and how to access any additional support you may need. We’ve also included special information for older people, those living with disabilities and immune compromised individuals, who are at higher risk of infection.
Please note: You can access COVID-19 vaccine information in-language here.
How do I get tested?
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) should be everyone’s go-to testing option for COVID-19. Victoria’s mass PCR testing program for COVID-19 has now been scaled back, meaning that a positive RAT result is your official result and should be treated as such. PCR tests are only available to clinically vulnerable individuals and other at-risk groups and in specific circumstances which include:
- If you are a household or close contact unable to access a rapid antigen test. You need to wear a face mask and travel by private vehicle if able to do so.
- If you are not a contact, asymptomatic, and you test positive on a rapid antigen test, get a PCR test to confirm that result.
- If you are a returned international traveller and have developed COVID-19 symptoms within 7 days of arriving in Australia. Visit Information for overseas travellers for more information.
- If you are due to have surgery or a planned hospital stay.
- If you are part of a targeted testing (screening) program across an industry or group.
The free rapid antigen tests program for eligible Victorians with disability has been extended to 30 September 2022. Over the next three months, all NDIS participants and disability support pensioners will be able to pick up RATs at local state-run COVID-19 testing sites or by contacting their Disability Liaison Officer. Find out more here.
If you would like to know more about COVID-19 testing, please visit the Victorian Government website here or call the 24/7 Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you test positive on a RAT, you must report it online or by calling 1800 675 398 (press 0 for a translator). You must tell your household, household-like and social contacts if you test positive. A household-like contact is anyone you have spent more than four hours with in a house, care facility or accommodation. A social contact is anyone you have had 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with, or spent 2 hours with, in the same indoor space. If you worked onsite while infectious or your child attended school or childcare while infectious, you must inform your workplace or your child’s educational facility.
For most people, recovering from COVID-19 at home is the best option. Managing COVID-19 at home when you have mild symptoms ensures hospital beds are kept free for people who are seriously unwell and need urgent medical treatment. Eligible people who have COVID-19 can also access antivirals and other medicines to prevent them from getting so sick that they need to go to hospital. These medical treatments are also called early therapies, or antivirals, and can be life-saving. However, these medications do not reaplce vaccinations. Vaccinations are the best protection to protect you from becoming severely ill with COVID-19.
It’s important to watch your symptoms and get help if you feel like they are worsening. If you feel that your symptoms are worsening contact a GP, GP Respiratory Clinic or the National Coronavirus Helpline on . For urgent help, please call Triple Zero ().
How do I get vaccinated?
Victorians are now being encouraged to get a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce severe disease from the emerging surge of Omicron and to help reduce the burden on Australian hospitals and the healthcare system in coming months.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) urges the following groups of people to get the winter dose of the vaccine as soon as possible:
- all adults aged 65 years or older
- residents of aged care or disability care facilities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older
- people who are severely immunocompromised (this will be their fifth dose)
- people aged 16 years or older with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
- people aged 16 years or older with disability, significant or complex health needs, or multiple comorbidities which increase the risk of a poor outcome.
Adults aged 50 to 64 years are recommended to receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine whilst adults aged 30 to 49 years can also receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but it is uncertain how effective the dose is amongst this age group. The winter dose can be taken three months after your third dose or after being infected with COVID-19 if the infection has occurred since your third dose.
If you’re eligible for a winter dose, book an appointment with your GP, pharmacist, or immunisation provider now.
The more people who get vaccinated, the more protection there is for you, your loved ones and your community. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine means you are much less likely to spread COVID-19, or get very sick or go to hospital if you get the virus. Find a vaccination centre near you here. Find information on vaccines in your language here.
How do I access support?
There are a number of support packages available to individuals, families and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, including financial relief, food relief, rent relief and assistance with paying utility bills. Find out more about about the packages you’re eligible for here.
FAMILY RECOVERY FUND
Individuals and families who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 can access case management support (with a focus on mental health recovery, education, training and employment) through the Family Recovery Program. Information regarding this program is available in 13 community languages. If you would like more information or would like to register your interest in accessing this fund, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXTREME HARDSHIP SUPPORT PROGRAM
The Extreme Hardship Support Program (EHSP) provides emergency financial assistance to people on temporary and provisional visas, and undocumented migrants not eligible for government income support. The EHSP assists people with zero or very limited savings, income or community support to pay for food, medicine and bills during the pandemic. It is a Victorian Government program delivered by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Red Cross.
PARTNERS IN WELLBEING
Partners in Wellbeing is an initiative funded by the Victorian Government and delivered by Neami National, EACH and the ACSO. The initiative provides free and confidential wellbeing coaching, veterans support, and small business support, which includes personal support for small business owners, financial counselling and a Business Advisory Service to help small business owners develop in the areas of marketing, HR management and more.
ECCV has produced a series of in-language COVID-19 videos featuring the stories of inspiring seniors in our diverse communities. Find out more here.
Coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19 and need help understanding what to do next or what support services are available, please call the dedicated 24/7 hotline.
If you need an interpreter, call the hotline on 1800 675 398 and press 0.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
Our COVID-19 Multicultural Outreach team is working alongside a range of organisations and health experts to deliver education sessions in order to keep migrant and refugee communities across Victoria supported, engaged and informed about the public health response to the pandemic.
The Victorian Government has translated videos in 18 languages on the following COVID-19 related topics:
- How to access financial and other support when you need to get a test or isolate at home and can’t go to work
- Your mental health and wellbeing
- Getting tested for coronavirus quickly
- Staying at home when you test positive for COVID-19, or are a close contact.
Find the videos here: www.youtube.com/c/VicGovDH/playlists
It is important to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of specialist mental health services and resources available for Victorians from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Find them here. You can also call to get support through your local Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub, which provides free support for all Victorians.
North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) has produced a range of in-language videos about mental health. Find them here. The federal Government also has translated videos about taking care of your mental wellbeing during the pandemic, including the one in Cantonese below. Find them all here.